I started to compose a different blog, but my eye was drawn to a story that really enraged me for several reasons that I will explain.
Abercrombie & Fitch, a clothes manufacturer that is extremely popular with teens, and now pre-teens, has just introduced, for purchase, a “push-up bikini bra” for girls ages 8 to 14. Read that again…..I’ll wait.
A “push-up” bikini top, for those of you who are guys, is a bra that has extra padding inside that makes your breasts look bigger, and adds cleavage. CLEAVAGE!!! In 8 year olds!!!
We all know the media, whether it’s magazines, TV, videos, or movies, has a lot to do with defining the “perfect girl” and her measurements. But when 2nd graders are being told they need cleavage, it is time to step back and say “I feel sick”.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has an age category for teens that starts at age 13. In the 13 to 19 year old category, there were 74,841 plastic surgery procedures performed in 2010. 8500 of them were breast implants. Also noted were some 13,467 Botox injections for the same age group of 13-19–an increase of 13% from 2009.
And it’s not just the US teens that want to be popping out of their shirts. A report in the London Sunday Times shows an increase of 150% in the number of 18 year olds undergoing breast enlargement in 2008.
Special problems with implants for teens
I don’t have to tell anyone who has lived through “the awkward years” about self image. All adolescents want the perfect body, skin, hair, and life. Unfortunately, what they see in the mirror is not reality.
Here are some actual facts according to the Breast Implant Information Project:
- The risk of lung cancer and some other cancers also is higher for breast augmentation patients compared to similar women without implants.
- There are no epidemiological studies or clinical trials on the safety and long-term risks of breast implants and liposuction on patients under 18, so, the risks are unknown.
- The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has an official position against breast augmentation for most teens under 18, but there is no enforcement. The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has no official position regarding augmentation for teenagers.
- 40% of augmentation patients have at least one serious complication within three years after getting their saline implants.
- breast augmentation patients are four times more likely to commit suicide compared to other women of the same age
- Breast implants interfere with mammography, and ultrasound, obscuring 55% of breast tumors, on average.
- Women who have breast implants are less likely to have enough milk to be able to breastfeed, compared to women who have not had breast surgery
I fear that if we keep sending the bizarre message to our elementary school aged girls that “you are strange if you don’t have breasts before 3rd grade” it will lead to not only unrealistic expectations, but feelings of inadequacy, low self esteem, and depression. This will eventually lead to substance abuse, and teen pregnancy and suicide.
Having raised two girls myself (they are ages 16 and 18 now) I know how extremely hard it is to limit exposure to all the crap that is shown to them every second. But we as parents, and we as a society, have to come to a point when we say “enough is enough”.
I think we have just reached that point.
Here’s a great short video to sum it up. (I am not advocating Dove products, I just like this video)